Your breath is the most powerful tool for quickly reducing stress and relaxing you. There are many breathing techniques that can make a positive difference in your life by instantly reducing your stress level, helping you recenter yourself and improving your focus. Here are two short techniques that can be done anytime, anywhere.

TECHNIQUE 1 - BOX BREATH This technique will leave you feeling relaxed, revitalized and clear-headed. Sit or stand so that your head, neck and torso are aligned. Imagine each breath or hold as one side of a four-sided box.

Side 1 – Breathe in through your nose for the count of 3 to 5 seconds (whichever is most comfortable for you).

Side 2 – Hold that breath for the same number of seconds.

Side 3 – Breathe out through your nose to the same number of seconds.

Side 4 – Hold those empty lungs for the same number of seconds.

You just completed one round. Repeat the procedure 2 more times for a total of 3 rounds. You will feel the stress reduction immediately. Now learn a second breathing technique.

TECHNIQUE 2 - LION'S BREATH This breathing technique awakens the body and calms the mind. It can free you from negative emotions by helping you to expel pent-up emotions, frustrations, and anger. You will feel more grounded, centered and balanced. It can bring about a renewed sense of determination. To start, sit or stand comfortably, with your open hands palms down on your waist or hips. Imagine yourself as a big lion.

1. Open your mouth wide and force out ALL of your breath through your open mouth.

2. Close your mouth and inhale through your nose. Allow your abdomen fill all the way up with air.

3. When you can't breathe in any more, open your mouth up as wide as you can, stick your tongue all the way out, throw your shoulders back, your head forward and quickly expel all of the air while making a "HA" sound. Don’t be shy. Let yourself get into it; it can be fun.

This completes one round. Repeat this for a total of 3 to 5 rounds.

Now that you know about these two useful breathing techniques, think about when you might use them. For instance, waking up in the morning, getting ready for bed, running errands in the car, taking a shower, or walking the dog. The added oxygen will have a positive impact on your mind and body. These breathing techniques are quick and effective, and easy enough to fit into your existing wellness routine.

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